Review 3183

“Rhubarb is Susan” has a note at the very top of the site instructing readers to read the disclaimer before continuing. Not being one to break rules, I did and I am very glad that I did. From this disclaimer, readers learn a lot about the author and the weblog before even reading a single entry. I love this in a site. A compact section that answers the questions of who, what, and why is a great addition to any weblog or any website for that matter.

Simon is the author of this weblog. He lives in Chicago and has a true passion for reading and even writing poetry. It somewhat offsets his career as a postdoctoral researcher in astrophysics, I guess. As learned in the previously mentioned disclaimer, he reviews poetry in his entries on “Rhubarb is Susan” and is very selective in how he does this.

The layout, for starters, is one of the infrequently used Blogger templates. It’s a classy one and actually flows well with the content of the site. There is just something about the text being on what looks like parchment paper that kind of fits in to the whole poetry theme of the site. Neato.

Simon goes about posting his reviews in a very courtesy manner. Each post contains the poem he’s reviewing and his thoughts on the work. This can obviously be somewhat lengthy. To save readers the hassle of having to scroll through so much text, he posts a couple of lines from the poem and then provides a “full review” link. If readers want to scroll quickly through the site looking for a particular review, this is much easier.

These reviews go into specific detail. In his own words, Simon goes into what the poet means, what could have improved the poem, and even sometimes touches the technical aspect of the piece of work. His passion and understanding of poetry clearly stands out in each of his reviews.

I can’t dance. My limbs are lethal weapons. Innocent people got hurt trying to teach me to dance. Same goes for me and trying to understand poetry. It’s never a pretty scene. Simon, however, does a superb job of explaining the poems he reviews. While they may not be pieces of work that I had ever read or seen, I still felt like I could learn a bit of what the poem meant.

Is “Rhubarb is Susan” a site that everyone will understand? Not at all. It is one I would recommend, though, for people willing to open their eyes to something new. For me, it made poetry seem like less of a daunting experience than I had previously thought.
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